Survey IDs Route 1 problems in Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth

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CUMBERLAND — Dangerous intersections in Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth are among hot spots mentioned in results of a community survey about transportation issues along U.S. Route 1.

The Complete Streets transportation improvement plan, due to be completed in May, is the focal point of a series of meetings to gather input from residents of the towns and feedback from the recently completed survey.

Key survey results can be found on the Route 1 Complete Streets Survey Facebook page.

The project is intended to improve safe access on the 10-mile corridor for all applicable modes of transportation: passengers cars, buses and trucks, as well as bicycles and pedestrians.

Following a sparsely-attended meeting Jan. 26 in Cumberland, gatherings are to be held at the Yarmouth Public Library, 215 Main St. in Yarmouth, at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15; and at Falmouth Town Hall, 271 Falmouth Road, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16.

Falmouth has started work in line with the Complete Streets aim last summer: a reconstruction project from Martin’s Point Bridge to Bucknam Road. The town also formed a Route 1 North Committee to focus on the remainder of U.S. Route 1 up to the Cumberland line.

The survey, which ran Nov. 14 to Dec. 6, 2016, drew more than 550 responses; 89 percent were from residents of one of the three towns, and about 40 percent said they work along U.S. Route 1.

The corridor’s Yarmouth intersection with Route 88 and the Exit 17 Interstate 295 on ramp was considered the most dangerous spot, receiving 47 percent of the votes. The Route 88/U.S. Route 1 intersection in Falmouth scored a close second, with 43 percent.

More than half of respondents said they never ride a bicycle on U.S. Route 1. Of those, half said they would ride occasionally, if facilities along the corridor improved.

Just 40 percent walk anywhere on U.S. Route 1, and 85 percent refuse to walk the corridor without sidewalks.

Tom Errico of T.Y. Lin International Group, the Complete Street project consultant, showed the Cumberland meeting some potential concept recommendations, including a bicycle-pedestrian lane along much of the corridor in that town, and improvements to the Tuttle Road on ramp.

“These are ideas,” Errico explained. “These are nothing that are set in stone. … These are just some thoughts that we had. We had these public meetings to seek input. Ultimately you help guide the recommendations.”

Errico, who led the presentation with Carol Morris of Morris Communications, demonstrated his desire to embrace input when residents of Cumberland’s small Conifer Ridge neighborhood said they were concerned about a bike-ped path that would run through that development from U.S. Route 1 up to Route 88.

The concept was a possible way of improving connectivity, Errico explained. Hearing the thoughts of the residents, one of whom noted a provision in Confieer Ridge’s subdivision plan that prohibits access from U.S. Route 1, Errico said he would remove that path from further consideration.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Tom Ericco of T.Y. Lin International Group, project consultant on the Complete Streets project being conducted in Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth, discussed potential concepts in Cumberland Jan. 26 that are intended to improve safety for all modes of travel along U.S. Route 1.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.